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Nike+ SportWatch - Tracking Performance and Usability

By Cliff Jones



Our Score:


We took the SportWatch through the ultimate road test, along 26.2 miles of the Paris Marathon – see the full route here - and the ShoePod really came into its own in the runs through the underpasses along the Seine.

Paris Marathon Nike SportWatch

Paris Marathon Garmin Forerunner 410

Whenever the satellite signal dropped out, the SportWatch kept on tracking the mileage via the shoe pod, unlike the Garmin Forerunner 410, which had nothing to fall back on. The SportWatch said we ran 26.52 miles, whereas the Forerunner 410 said we ran 26.41. While it is normal for marathoners to run further than the statutory distance because of taking wide bends along the route, the extra distance on the SportWatch could be down to greater accuracy afforded by the ShoePod.

Marathon stats

Over the course of a marathon, a runner can expect to burn anything between 2,500 to 3,500 calories, so we were disappointed that the SportWatch said we burned up 990 calories along the 4:29:37 run, whereas the Garmin said we lost 3,046 calories. This was because we had not put our weight in the Profile section of the SportWatch PC interface - ideally, like setting the time, we would have liked to be able to input user profile on the watch itself instead of via a PC with the Nike software installed on it.

Unlike other sport watches like the Garmin Forerunner 410, you aren’t able to store routes or train against a virtual partner or view your per mile splits on the watch itself, but the best thing about the SportWatch is its simplicity.


If you want to turn on the backlight, you simply tap the face of the watch. This does away with the awkward multitouch bezel seen on the Garmin Forerunner 410 and eliminates the need for an extra button that serves as nothing more than light switch.

To scroll through the control menu you don't have to select a button that says "Menu", you simply use the top or bottom button and the menu just appears.


To record a run, you don't have to go to a training menu, you just scroll to Run and the watch quickly finds a satellite signal, a ShoePod, or both and once these are locked on and you start running, you can view your distance, pace, time lapsed, current time or calories burnt.

USB connector

No wires or dongles are needed to sync up to the nikeplus.com running service or charge the watch as the USB connector is neatly encased in the strap itself. This saves having to carry leads around when you’re on the move and you want to add your workout to the database of more than 150 million runs logged since 2006.

Mister Normal

April 16, 2011, 1:47 pm

what happened to this site, why is this listed with no review? Its been going down hill for a while. Shame as it was really good.


April 17, 2011, 9:13 pm

I second that. With all the ads (and links which looks like ads) the whole thing looks like one of those annoying price comparison websites now.


April 18, 2011, 3:10 pm

Sorry, this shouldn't have been sent out as review on our RSS feed when it was. It's just another of the bugs we're working out on the new site.

As you'll see the review is now live.


April 18, 2011, 5:06 pm

I agree with KingOsticks/Mister Normal- the RSS feed is even a bit flakey these days with multiple reposts etc and advertising taking too much of a prominent place over content- one must drive the other surely!


April 18, 2011, 5:14 pm

Still Not working for me. And I hope the site settles down and improves as it has taken two steps backwards. The simplicity was perfect!


April 18, 2011, 5:24 pm

I still can't see a review (13.23)
TR lay off the ad revenue and stick to what you usede to be good at!


April 18, 2011, 6:14 pm

I've also arrived at this rather baffling page after a third RSS news article stating "We put the latest GPS sport watch up against a top of the line Garmin watch over the course of the Paris Marathon" and then see "Not reviewed yet by TR".

I'm also a bit confused as to why reviews of a a Pure radio, satnav, laptop, video conditioner and rucksacks are considered 'related'?

I'm all for change, if it's an improvement, but I do like the simplicity of the old TR design. Much easier to see what's what.


April 18, 2011, 7:33 pm

I cannot stand this new website, I tried to find an old review yesterday, failed. I tried to read this review, failed.

Please change it back, call it oldskool, call it retro, or at least put a button on this site to go back to the old format!


April 18, 2011, 10:08 pm

Another comment section and another round of website re-design criticism. When are TR going to get it?


April 18, 2011, 10:59 pm

Hi Cliff. Thanks for this review. I have been looking forward to the release of this sports watch for some time. Your review seems to take the same stance as other reviewers, in that this watch is aimed at beginners or casual runners (in other words...me). Having checked out the feedback on the Nike+ and Garmin forums, I am kind of torn between this watch and the Forerunner 210 which you reviewed a couple of months ago. You have given this watch 9/10 based I believe on its simplicity and ease of use, whereas you gave the 210 a more rounded 8/10. My question is if you had to buy one, which of these two would you choose, and why? I have also seen the promo clip for the new Forerunner 610 which Garmin will be releasing in May as a direct competitor to the Nike+ watch. Looks promising...no?

On another note. There seems to be a lot of negative comments circulating regarding the design and increased advertising on this website. The old layout was good...I liked it. However, it was dated when compared with sites like engadget. This site now seems more cutting edge and current. If the advertising has to be more intrusive to keep this site at the forefront in its field, then I can live with that.


April 19, 2011, 3:37 am

For those struggling to read the review, to get beyond the front page, you have to click 'Continue reading'. It isn't obvious first time around, and still isn't intuitive now.

I detest having to scroll through to many adverts and site links just to get to the comments.

I understand that this watch has a purpose, but the market must now be small. I use the Nike+ GPS app with my iPhone, and there are plenty of others for it as well as for Android etc (Runmeter, Runtastic etc). None cost over £5 and they all do a lot more than this device. Yes, probably a little less accurately and of course, they will struggle if you regularly run through tunnels.

The Nike Running website could do with a refresh, but it is still streets ahead of anything else out there at the moment.


April 19, 2011, 6:38 am

Thanks for the good review.

For the record I don't mind the new site. Just keep bunging out the good material and I will come back to read. Fix the niggles so that everything works. Just make sure you don't go bankrupt through lack of advertising!


April 19, 2011, 12:48 pm

Has anyone tried clicking the "video review" button of this product? I am getting Cliff Smith reviewing a Nikon Coolpix camera!


April 19, 2011, 1:14 pm

Well done on the marathon. Was sub-4:30 your target?

If this is just my stupidity shoot me down in flames, but... is fullscreen disabled on the video?

I assumed on the old site that it was purposely disabled so the adverts on the page were visible, but since we're now forced to enjoy a 15 second sponsor clip before the video starts, can't fullscreen be enabled?

Disabling fullscreen seems a dozy thing to do, anyway, because of the resolution-dependence – on a low-res screen you don't see the advertising and on a high-res screen the video is miniscule (I'm using a 16" 1920x1080 laptop at the moment, and the video is just annoyingly tiny).

PS The 'Video' tab for this review still links to the Nikon CoolPix review.


April 20, 2011, 2:29 am

Either TR Readers are being sold a dummy or the link to the video review icon against the Nike+ SportsWatch Review headline on the Home Page is incorrect. I suspect the latter as the video review is on the "Review" tabbed page as well as the fact the above linked video review clearly has the description for Nikon CoolPix L110.

Of course the video reviews will precede the review - as seen elsewhere so NO 'problem' there then.


April 23, 2011, 2:41 am

All - thanks for the comments. This article was subject to some technical difficulties with the new site which affected video and the early publishing of the page without a review. Despite these risks, I wanted to get this up soon because it's marathon season and we had a early sample of the watch ahead of other tech sites.

@simonm Actually 4:15 was my target, but this being my first marathon, I had no idea, so I CHASED a 4:00 time for the first 10 miles, realised how stupid that was, burned out, walked half of Mile 15 and cursed myself around the next 5 miles before manning up and vowing to come in sub 4:30. It's a cautionary tale and one best left out of this product review.

@shnatiw Good question. I think it comes down to the user. Personally I like to review my splits straight away, so if Mile 15 was rubbish, I want to see that time on the watch. The SportWatch doesn't allow you to do that, but the Garmin Forerunner 210 does. For a casual runner, the Nike is the idea watch, but for the stats-hungry athlete, it's the Garmin. The 410, although brilliant, is pricey but offers serious grunt as a training tool thanks to the virtual partner functionality. I am interested in the 610 (and budget models) and will be requesting one next week. As a runner myself, I'm keen to review more kit, so keep your suggestions coming in and watch this space.

Michael Dance

June 9, 2015, 5:47 pm

Hi small correction - you can switch from miles to KM by logging into Nike Connect software - most Nike items are customisable once you plug them into usb :)

I've used Nike Running ios app for two years and felt so cool to be able to go for a run without my phone, armband and headphones tonight, and still log my run against my friends Nike Leaderboard ..

First use of it tonight and very impressed so far ...

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